LEGACY JOINT RETAINER AGREEMENT FAQs
This page is kept for historical reference
This page is kept for historical reference only. The CIOG Volunteers Coordinating Committee (VCC) has ceased to support the JRA Effort for reasons that were explained in a VCC Communication to the law firm and JRA Members on March 9th, 2018.
Please note: it is no longer possible to become a JRA member via the CIOG.
Q: If my spouse is a co-member, do we both need to sign the JRA?
A: No, only one signature is required, the person having signed will be the client of record with the law firm.
Q: If you are a member who does not reside in Canada can you be part of the joint retainer agreement with the law firm?
A: Absolutely, this initiative is for all members, no matter your country of residence, who want to participate.
Q: Who is paying the legal fees?
A: The legal fees will be generated by members signing up with the law firm with an initial fee off $100.00. If 1000 members from this group signed a Joint Retainer agreement with the law firm that would generate $100,000 for legal services to be undertaken by law firm, which would be held in a trust account.
Q: If we want to contribute more than $100, can we do that?
A: The initial ask is $100.00 CDN. As detailed in the joint retainer agreement this is the initial ask and there may be other asks as this initiative progresses. It is all-dependent on what legal action and services we require from the law firm. At any point a member who has signed a joint retainer agreement can opt out or in at a future date.
Q: $100.00 CDN, in what currency can a member who resides in the US, Europe or other country send the funds.
A: For USA members a cheque in the amount of $80.00 US is acceptable to the law firm. Also clarification for outside of Canada; if you are sending $100CDN then a personal cheque in the equivalent local currency is the best way. So no need for non-Canadians to raise foreign drafts or money orders.
Q: What is the plan?
A: The JRA itself provides more detail. In a nutshell the CIOG Volunteers are trying to find ways to get better member representation in our own club. The declarant (DRI) has full control over the club guidelines (over the board). Retaining a lawyer is to help us figure out how to pursue our rights and better member representation in an effective way. Many volunteers have analyzed a lot of the past 20 years' of club and declarant operations and are now synthesizing those findings for a legal review. From there the idea is to prioritize where the opportunities are and pursue a fairer model. Some members may think the current model is fine, and that's their prerogative. Others might find that, after sifting through 500 pages, the GST issue, the board meeting minutes, the (lack of) resolutions, the ongoing blatant conflicts of interest, etc. that it is time for a change.
Q: Can we submit a signed scanned version of the agreement electronically?
A: The JRA document needs to be a signed original. The payment must be a cheque or money order ccompanying the JRA.
Q: Can payment be submitted electronically?
A: At this time, in order to reduce processing costs, electronic payments are not possible. This will also help to reduce overall administrative costs of matching electronic payments to documents to client files. Please keep in mind that each member(s) who signs and sends back the joint retainer agreement will have an individual file opened with Geldert Law. While each of us will individually have a legal relationship with Geldert Law he will handle our initiative collectively as one.
Q: Why are the CIOG Volunteers engaging the services of a Lawyer? Is it to seek monetary damages or something else?
A: It is not to seek monetary damages at this time. It is to seek fairness for members in the operations of Club Intrawest/Embarc with legal guidance and possible legal action through;
- Unfettered CI/Embarc communication among members without censorship by the Board of Directors: this may mean seeking our membership list information through the courts (note: this list has been requested to the Board of Directors by the CIOG on a number of occasions and it has been refused. The CIOG asked the BOD to send a letter to members; they would not do it without a $20,000. up front and then another $15,000 when the letter was sent).
- Removal of the unfair voting power imbalance between members and DRI by reforming class voting structure so that all classes have the same voting power (this requires an amendment to bylaw 3.6.1, current structure gives a member 1 vote for every 15 points held and DRI has one vote for every point they hold)
- Fairer value, transfer of and selling market for resort points
- Restructured Board of Directors so that all directors are members only, elected by members
Q: Why was this law firm selected?
A: When the CIOG Volunteers embarked on this process, we felt, very strongly, that what we had been sold and what we actually had were not the same. We have produced a number of other documents setting out our position in greater detail, all available on the website. Our initial thoughts were that laws had been broken, so we started looking for a lawyer to represent us. We quickly established that there was an entire ecosystem of immoral and unethical business in the timeshare industry. We went to a number of sources, including government consumer protection agencies, timeshare owner organizations, and other groups fighting timeshare organizations, investigative journalists and word of mouth. In that search, it became apparent that there were a handful of lawyers who had a reputation for fairness in dealing with timeshare owners.
By this time, the CIOG strongly felt we only needed to get the Board of Directors to operate the club in the way it should be. We therefore focused our research on lawyers that were able to assist us in:
- Forcing the Board of Directors to operate the club ‘Fairness for members in the operations of Club Intrawest / Embarc’, and if this could not be achieved,
- Allowing owners to leave the club, whilst realising as much of the investment that members had invested, in the most cost effective way.
Of the half a dozen lawyers we had been talking to, only 2 wanted to back us in (a) above, achieving “a fairness” in operations.We widely publicised those two lawyers on our website and the FaceBook group. They were Finn Law Group, based in Florida, and the law firm we selected. Finn Law was in the process of helping another club, based in the US, taken over by DRI, to extricate themselves from DRI.
It should be noted that our research with lawyers, investigative journalists, owners have identified a number of successful litigations against DRI.However, every time DRI looks like it will lose a court case, it settles out of court, and stipulates a gag order, preventing any of the affected parties public discussion of the case.
Q. Is DRI too big to take on?
A: Clearly, consumer protection law should apply to the sale of timeshares, but the consumer protection laws in Canada are weak. It is provincially regulated and each province is different. USA timeshare consumer protection laws are stronger and are State legislated. This is an area that the CIOG Volunteers are looking at but is not our focus at this time. The roll out of the JRA is the main focus at this time but the GST Tax Court Ruling is important, as the impact to members could be significant. There is continued research being undertaken on this issue and will be a focus for the CIOG once the JRA process is on its way.
Q: What do we get for our money? What are the potential legal bills?
A: We can’t say at this point, but if it comes to litigation, then obtaining the member list could cost c. $20,000 - $30,000. For other litigation, looking at other similar actions, the costs would range between $300k - $500k, more if we lose! Putting to one side the detailed costs of every element of this process, let us be clear: Currently our investment in CI points is unsaleable. The future of maintenance ‘dues’ is unknown at this time.
In January 2016 Intrawest Resort Club Group was selling points at around $180/pt. In July 2016 DRI were selling points at around $350/pt. According to data from TUG and RedWeek, 3 years ago, CI points were selling at CDN$30/point on the resale market. As this was a ‘market’ price, it cannot be taken as a current value of the points. If we cannot sell our points, then we must find a way to give them back to the manager. This process commonly costs US$250 and dues must be up to date.
So, to evaluate value for money, each person must make their own assessment of their initial purchase, maintenance so far, loss of saleable value of points owned, against holidays experienced and expected to be experienced in the future (again, there is a useful material on our website discussing this is more detail).
Clearly, DRI feels that this value proposition justifies their current selling point of $350/pt.
We are not selling a product. We are not even selling timeshare! But if you believe, as we do, that the potential to achieve our objectives and potentially increase the secondary market value of our points up from 0/pt is worth paying for , then you need to set your own maximum on that payment.
Remember our JRA is not open ended.
At every call for funds you have the right to withdraw and be liable for NO additional costs.